How to pick and store plums

Black Doris Plum harvestThere’s a small window, a perfect moment when fruit is ripe for picking. The only way you catch it is by keeping an eye on your crops. With a plum, I reckon it’s just before it hits the ground. Pick your plums when the skin has that gorgeous dusky bloom on it and when the slightest touch knocks them from the branch. I cup the plums in my hand and wiggle my fingers, if they come away then they are perfect – no tugging required. Dare I say it, its more like fondling than picking.

Wash them and leave them at room temperature until they reach whatever your definition of perfectly ripe is. At this point I put them in the fridge in a plastic bag where they’ll keep really well for a week, maybe more. No fruit or vegetable is same after refrigeration, but its either that or have the whole lot go squishy on you. Ripe plums at room temperature just don’t last. You can of course bottle, dry, freeze or preserve to your hearts content – plums suit all these methods. For best flavour I’d do this before refrigeration.

February means we’re midway through the plum season. The wonderful low maintenance, tasty, juicy Hawera has just finished and Black Doris is just beginning. Luisa (one of my favourite plums!) is on its way (reminding me to birdnet her before the day closes or the blackbirds will clean it up in a flash.)

Man alive, do we have plums.